| || Notes for ROSCOE CLINTON MYERS:|
Attended the World Series in St Louis.
2 of Roscoe's sisters lived beyond their 100th birthdays, Willie and Mackie.
1930 JACKSON COUNTY OKLAHOMA CENSUS
MYERS, ROSCOE C.;head;home owned;yes [lives on a farm];M;W;age 30;M;21 age at m.;no;yes;Texas;Kentucky;Texas;state-87;yes [speaks English];farmer;general;vvvv;class of worker O;employed-yes;veteran-ww;farm schedule 95;
MATTIE I.;wife H;yes;f;w;28;m;18;no;yes;Texas;Georgia;Georgia;state-87;yes;none;
TRUMAN C.;brother;yes;m;w;21;s;no;yes;Oklahoma;Kentucky;Texas;state-86;yes;farm labor;on farm;vivv;W;yes;n
3"Buckskin Joe" was the frontier sobriquet of Joseph S. Works, who was born in Grant County, Wisconsin, February 14, 1847. In 1861, when but a few months past fourteen years old, he enlisted in Company B, of the 9th Iowa Infantry. At the end of eleven months, he was discharged because of physical disability, the long marches, exposure and severity of the service having proven too much for his immature physique, so he was sent home, supposedly to die. But he was nursed back to health and strength and, in 1863, he re-enlisted in Troop K, of the 9th Iowa Cavalry, with which he served until mustered out of the service, February 10, 1866, with the rank of corporal. Of his career as a scout, during the years of his early manhood, not much seems to have been recorded, though it is believed that he saw much of the frontier life of that period. That part of his life and activities which is of most interest in Oklahoma relates to the part which he played in Texas in the Oklahoma "Boomer" movement, in 1884-5-6-7-8. Originally becoming interested because Captain D. L. Payne was an ex-Union soldier, he tried to get in touch with Captain Couch, after Payne's death but did not succeed. However, about the time that the Payne-Couch "Boomer" movement went to pieces, he began to organize a "Boomer" movement of his own, in Texas, finally planting a "colony" in old Greer County, at Navajo, in 1887. Continuing his agitation for the opening of the Oklahoma country to settlement, he gained the co-operation of several railroad companies and of the Kansas City Commercial Club, which gave him considerable prominence throughout 1888 and also an insight into townsite promoting which he turned to good account. At the opening of Oklahoma, in 1889, he took great interest in the town of Union City, in Canadian County for a time but it failed to develop as he had expected it to do. He did not use his homestead right as he hoped some day to take up a homestead in the Cache Creek Valley, in the Fort Sill country. In 1893 and 1894, he was in the Chickasaw Nation for a time, trying to help build towns at Duncan, Comanche, Marlow and Ryan, where he clashed with some of the Chickasaw inter-married citizens, yet stoutly protested that he had opposed the best interests of the Indian people of that tribe as a whole. Though intensely active and not uninfluential in his agitation for the opening and settlement of Oklahoma, he never became a citizen of the state or territory.
A place which has always been associated with Old Greer County was actually located on the Texas side of the Red River. One thing that most early Greer County Pioneers had in common was the fact that they entered their new home through Doan's Crossing. Our old newspapers are probably our best source of history. Although they were notorious for making mistakes, they give us an account of events written at the time they happened or described by eye witnesses. We are borrowing these accounts to present here.
The Mangum Daily Star
Wednesday, Nov. 16, 1932
Corwin F. Doan Tells Experiences
At the Gateway To Greer County
(Doan's Crossing was the Gateway to Old Greer County, Corwin F. Doan sat there in his little trading post and saw the trail driver, the ranchman, and the settler come into Greer County. The following article was written by Mr. Doan and published by George W. Saunders, Cookesbury Press, 1925.)
I am now 74 years old and looking back over my life, I find the main part of it being spent near the old Chisholm Trail, or on the Dodge City Kansas trail.
My first introduction to the old Chisholm Trail was in 1874, when in company with Robert E. Doan, a cousin, and both of us from Wilmington, Ohio, we set out for Fort Sill, Indian Territory, from Wichita, Kansas. We made this little jaunt of 250 miles by stage coach over the famous trail in good time.
In 1875, very sick, I returned to my home in Ohio from Fort Sill, but the lure of the west urged me to try my luck again and October 10, 1879, found me back in the wilds and ever since, I have lived at Doan's, the trail crossing on Red River known far and wide by old trail bosses as the jumping off place into the great unknown, the last civilization until they hit the Kansas Line.
Traded With Indians
While sojourning in the Indian Territory in 1874 and 1875 with Tim Pete, Dave ?, And J. Doan, I engaged in trading with the Indians and buying hides at a little store on Cache Creek, two miles from Fort Sill. Our li fe at this place was a constant thrill on account of the Indians. During the month of July, 1874, the Indians killed 13 hay cutters and wood choppers. Well do I remember, one day after a hay cutter had been killed, a tenderfoot from the East with an eye to local color, decided to explore the little meadow where the man had been killed, expecting to collect a few arrows so that he might be able to tell the loved ones at home of his daring. But the Indians discovered the sightseer and with yells and his collection of arrows whistling about his ears, chased him back to the stockade. Terror lent wings to his feet and he managed to reach safety, but departed the next day for the East, having lost all taste for the dangers of the west.
January 9, 1875, found me caught in a blizzard and I narrowly escaped freezing to death at the time. Indians around Fort Sill demanding buckskin, as their supply had run low, I was sent by the firm on horseback to the Shawnee Tribe to buy a supply. This was my second trip. After my departure the blizzard set in and I was warned by the mailman, the only man I met on the trip, to turn back, or I would be frozen. But, the thoughts of the buckskin at $4.00 per pound caused me to press on. I managed to reach Conover Ranch badly frozen. I was taken from my horse and given first-aid treatment. I was so cold that ice had frozen in my mouth. The mail carrier, who had advised me to turn back, never reached the fort, and his frozen body was found some days after the storm.
For two weeks I remained in this home before I found the strength to continue the journey. I was held up another week by the cold near Paul's Valley, but I got the buckskin, sending it back by express-mail carrier and returned on horseback.
Indians during this time were held in concentration camps near the fort, both Comanches and Kiowas, and beeves were issued twice a week. A man by the name of Conover and myself did the killing and about seventy-five or eighty head were killed at one time. The hides were bought from the Indians and shipped to St. Louis.
After the bi-weekly killings, the Indians would feast and sing all night and eat up their rations and nearly starve until the next issue day came.
Met Quanah Parker
It was at this time that I met Quanah, chief of the Comanches who was not head chief at that time, and Santanta, chief of the Kiowas. I was warned during that time by Santanta that the Indians liked me and they wanted me to leave the country because they intended to kill every white man in the Nation. I rather think that the friendly warning was given me because I often gave crackers and candy to the hungry squaws and papooses and of course Santanta's family received their share.
Santanta escaped soon after that and near where El Reno now stands, at the head of his warriors, captured a wagon train and burned men to their wagon wheels. He was captured again and taken to the penitentiary where he committed suicide by opening a vein in his arm.
After moving to Doan's of course I saw a great deal of Quanah who at that time had become chief. He told me that he had often been invited to return to his white relations near Weatherford but he had refused. "Corwin ," he said, "as far as you see here I am chief and the people look up to me, down at Weatherford I would be a poor half breed Indian." Perhaps he was right.
Big Bow Took Goods
Big Bow, another Kiowa Chief, often followed by his warriors, rode up to the little store on Cache Creek one day and arrogantly asked, would we hand over the goods or should they take them? We told them we would hand over the goods as he designated them. Later when Big Bow and I became friends he said, "Us Indians are big fools, not smart like white, cause you handed over (paper torn) but Washington (Uncle Sam) took it out of our pay." It was quite true for as soon as the wards of the government had departed, the bill had been turned in to the guardian, Uncle Sam.
We had one big scare at Doan's and that date, April, 1879, is indelibly fixed on my memory. The Indians came close enough to the house to be recognized by the women and they ran our horses off. I was up in the woods hunting at the time and reached home at dusk to find three terror stricken women, a baby and a dog for me to defend. All the other men had gone to Denison for supplies and our nearest neighbor was fifty miles away; so, thinking discretion the better part of valor, we retreated to a little grove about a half mile from our picket house and spent the night, expecting every moment a "hair- raising" experience. The Indians proved to be a band of Kiowas returning from where Quanah now stands where they killed and scalped a man by the name of Earle. Three days later the soldiers came through on the trail of the Indians expecting to find our homes in ashes and the family exterminated. The Kiowa Indians told me afterward quite coolly, that they would have attacked us that night but believed us to be heavily garrisoned with buffalo hunters --- a lucky thing for us. This was the last raid through the country. The Indians after that became very friendly with us and told me to go ahead and build a big store, that we would not be molested. They had decided this in council.
Saw Herds In 1879
The Spring and Summer of 1879 I saw the first herds up the trail, though the movement had started two years before. My uncle, J. Doan, who had been with me two years in Fort Sill, had established the post at Doan's April 1879, and we had arrived, that is myself, wife and baby, and the Judge's daughters, that fall. So we had come too late to see the herds of 1878. One hundred thousand cattle passed over the trail by the little store in 1879. In 1881, the trial reached the peak of production and three hundred and one thousand were driven by to the Kansas shipping point.
In 1882, on account of the drought, the cattle found slim picking on their northern trek and if it had not been for the "butter weed" many would have starved to death as grass was all dead that year. Names of John Lyttle, Noah Ellis, Ab and John Blocker, Harrold and Ikard, Worsham, the Belchars Ligon and Clark, Wiley Blair, the Eddlemans, and others come into my memory as I write this, owners and bosses of the mighty herds of decades ago. One man, Dubose, complained that he never in all those summers had a mess of roasting ears, of which he was very fond, as the corn would be about knee high when he left Corpus Christie and as he came up the trail he would watch the fields in their various stages but by the time he left Doan's and civilization it was still to early for even a cob.
Captain John Lytle spent as high as a month at times in preparing for his onward march. Accompanied by his secretary, he would outfit his men and have everything shipshape when he crossed the Red River. He was a great man and his visits were enjoyed.
Built Branding Pens
Wichita Falls failed to provide suitable branding pens for the accommodation of the trail drivers - pens were provided at Doan's. Furnaces and corrals were built and here Charley Word and others fitted with cartridges, Winchesters by the case, sow bosom and flour, and even to Stetson hats, etc .. This store did a thriving business and thought nothing of selling bacon and flour in carload lots, though getting supplies from Denison, Sherman, Gainesville and later, Wichita Falls....
The rest of this article is missing, except for a few words which appear to be about the post office and the Doan's Crossing picnic which was a big event in Southwest Oklahoma, even when there was no Doan's Crossing or Doan's Store.
We also know that for several years mail was picked up at the post office at Doan's Crossing and distributed to the ranches in Old Greer county.
Even though the trail drives stopped after the railroads came to Texas, pioneers from Texas crossed the river at Doan's crossing for many years before a bridge was built across the Red River.
GREER COUNTY COWBOYS
Feb 2, 1905, New York World, page 1
KING OF THE COWBOYS
ELLSION CARROL of Oklahoma, is the champion steer roper of the United States. Mr. Carrol wrested the "belt" from his good friend, but bitter rival, Clay McConagill, of Texas.
No prize was fought more fiercely. Thousands of spectators cheered themselves into a frenzy and declared the battle to be the greatest ever waged. Wherever cattle and Cowboys congregate, the title of champion steer roper is looked on as the highest honor a man can wear. The cowboy who can claim it and hold it is a king.
And Mr. Carrol, of Oklahoma, has the title and a purse of $6,000 with side bets of nearly as much again. Both Ellison and Clay are the modern type of cowboys, hale, hearty fellows, good natured and happy.
McConagill is over six feet high, proportionately strong and weighs about 180 pounds, while his rival is three inches taller and tips the scales at 210 pounds. They are both well off and own their own cattle ranges.
An incident occurred during the contest here which shows the true spirit of good fellowship that exists between cowboys, even when big money and a championship of the world are at stake. After McConagill broke two lariats on one steer and started back to his corner for another, his opponent, Carrol, came riding out with his own rope for his unfortunate competitor. Both men smiled as the lariat was handed over and Clay said, "Much obliged old man."
Mr. Carrol made the marvelous record of roping and tieing twenty eight steers in 18 minutes and 58 1/5 seconds. Mr. Carrol rode three different horses during the tournament-- Jack Hill, Red Buck and Necktie. Jack Hill threw one steer after Mr. Carroll left his back.
Sun Monitor JAN 7, 1904
A TEXAS GREEN HORN
The prophet hath prophesied: yea he hath held his breath, pulled his hair and spoken again and again! But all his prophesies have come to naught.
Looking back three, four, five years ago we see white covered "schooners" coming over the prairie from Texas and the south, or from Kansas and the north. Now and then one from Arkansas or the Indian Territory, and in fact from everywhere. But see them as they came across the border.
See the poor horses, the little ragged children, the careworn father and mother, even the dog looks melancholy and sad. But, they are led on and on by the hope of a home, a free gift from Uncle Sam.
Now, we see the prophet (the big ranchers who were here before the homesteaders) as he spied the "newcomers" and hastens to fill his mission here below. He looks sad, wearing his long face, just filled up for the occasion, with his sombrero and big boots and spurs--an ideal prophet.
After asking the head of the family "where ye from?" "where ye goin?, and with a knowing look,-- for the prophet must look wise,-- he proceeds to deal out his knowledge of "old Greer" in magnificent style to his attentive listeners. With great earnestness he tells of the hardships, the suffering of the innumerable home seekers, then stretches himself and tells of the "gip water" which is a slow but sure death: and then "the great drouth" when every one moved off and left their machinery setting idle in the field, and how the cattle all nearly died and the prairie dogs did die by the thousands, and then finished by telling the poor people that "they never have any schools and taxes are high, winds his bridle reins around the saddle horn and calmly rolls a "sig."
After he has secured a light, he puffs a moment, then as he is about to go, gives a piece of advice of great value. "You'd better look after your hosses, stranger, fer some fellers hosses ramble off mighty sudden sometimes in this ere noo country." Then the prophet is gone in a cloud of dust down the road, having done his duty well.
In a few days we see the father building a dugout, his "hosses" are staked out nearby and he is using every member of his family, from little "Jimmie" to "Pollyann" to erect that dugout. When some how or other, the grass gets afire on the north of him, and by a scratch, he gets his outfit to a neighboring prairie dog town and don't loose anything only grass. Let us leave him here, facing every obstacle with a grim determination to stay or starve, 'tis useless to try to tell how he got through that first year for he or no other man can tell how it was done.
Let us draw aside the curtain after five years have passed, years of toil 'tis true, but what different picture. A good house, a wind mill, a good barn, a fine farm, good wagons, buggies and farm implements, good horses, fat cows, hogs. And just look at those boys and girls, well fed and clothed, stepping out into young manhood and womanhood with health, happiness and an independent air which says of itself that they are indeed an independent people, subject to no land lord. Then we see the father after he has returned from Mangum, he is reading his patent from Uncle Sam, to Polly and the children, after which he turns and we hear him say, "Polly get the book," after a chapter is read, we see them bow around that family alter.. Let us leave them there and turn again and look for our prophets.
Where, Oh! where are they? The answer is that Greer with her 50,000 bales of cotton, her miles and miles of railroad, her splendid towns and hundreds of school houses and churches with all of her happy prosperous homes is no good for the prophet and he has vamoosed or lost his job.
Corn in the crib
Money in the pocket
Gravy in the dish
And yaller bread to sop it.
With Teddie in the chair
And McQuire on the fence
The Monitor up in Mangum
We get our recompense
Hurrah for "old Greer" and her sturdy sons of toil as well as amen to Uncle Sam.
TEXAS GREEN HORN, ESP
A TEXAS GREEN HORN
Forty or fifty years ago, when I was a boy, I remember seeing great wagon loads of buffalo hides pass along the road in front of our house in Texas, and how well I remember, too, hearing the hunters tell about killing them, all the different methods used, etc.
How many air castles I built about hunting buffalo when I "growed up," but alas, when I got to be a man, the buffalo were all gone---where? Only a horn here and there tell us of the great herds which once lived on the "great plains".
Then the deer and antelope followed and now, it is a rare thing to hear of one where only a few years ago thousands roamed the country. Next on the hunters' program of destruction was the wild turkey until now, you can't find one. How many times have we seen them killed just for "sport ".
Then, prairie chicken was the game and the sport soon made them so scarce that, now, we never hear them call to their mate in the spring.
We have now with us, but one species of game destroyer and he will be the last of his kind, for there will be no game to slaughter when he quits. The quail hunter is the party I have in mind. When he passes off the stage of action no more "thoroughbred sports" will come to the surface and the rest of humanity will get a rest. The gentlemen in question in his yellow leggings, rides out from town in a buggy with a dog, a smart dog too, that knows his business better than his master. He has a fine gun and like to prate about his shooting and the records he has made. He gets out of his buggy, ties his "hoss" to a fence post and gets over in a field and soon you see birds fly. Pop, pop, pop goes the gun, down comes the poor little birds and the fellow tells the nester that he is out for a little sport and there is no "harm in killing the birds."
The farmer, (nester) tells him to move on, he don't want his birds killed and the sport, goes but he is huffy and swears about the law, the "nester", the everything and in fact thinks he is the only chap in the country.
We see these fellows all over the country, they are clerks, hobos, barbers, bartenders, bankers and toughs. They would get insulted if you ask them if they were hungry and wanted the birds to eat.
You ask them why they kill? "Oh, just for sport, for pastime and for practice," they tell you. Of all the pests that ever came into the country, these fellows are the worst. Why don't they kill prairie dogs, or black birds, field larks, or something of that kind? Because they would be doing a kindness. But, when you get them cornered and find them in your field, they will tell you they are hunting rabbits, here they tell a lie.
I long to see the time when it will be a penitentiary offense to kill one little quail, for the time is not long when they will go like many other branches of game that are now extinct.
We have only a few birds left and they will soon be gone. The coming generation will not know what a quail looks like if these "smart alecks" ain't shut off some way
TEXAS GREEN HORN, ESQ. RUSSELL, OKLA.
ALTUS WATER WELL
The following essay won third place in the Oklahoma Heritage Week Essay Contest. Ben Rhett Copeland is the son of Dr. & Mrs. Mike Copeland and a student of Mrs. Joyce Wikoff's Ninth Grade History Class at Altus Junior High School. Essay is reprinted minus bibliography. This essay also appeared in the Altus Times Newspaper column courtesy of the Museum of the Western Prairie
CITY OF ALTUS WATER WELL
In such a dry and arid climate, it was essential to the early pioneers of the Altus community that a source of water be available for personal and drinking use. A historical site presently marks the spot on the north side of the Downtown Altus Square where one of the first wells was dug and used by citizens of the Altus community.
One of two hand dug wells in 1889-90 by Mr. Sam Neal, provided the lone soft water supply in the area for several years. It was 35 feet deep and was protected by a cement curb. Early-day citizens would carry water from this well to their homes and it was also from this hole that water was secured to fill the horse troughs which once centered the streets around the Square.
Before it provided water for the town that is today Altus, Oklahoma, the well was the only water supply for the Neal family, and surrounding homesteaders. Another water well, which was dug on the southwest corner of the Neal homestead was actually built first but it's water was very hard. As it was not adequate for consumption, the second well was dug. This soft-water well was dug on the southeast corner of the homestead. It was used for making food and drinking, while the hard-water well was used for watering the animals. According to Lloyd Neal, Samuel's 89 year-old son, the soft-water well was the only source of water for the whole county, until the town was established. It was without a doubt the gathering place " to wet your whistle and get the news."
During the later 1880's, the first non-Indian settlers trickled into the remote areas of Southwest Oklahoma. As a result of a crippling drought they had encountered in Texas, many of the disheartened individuals ventured north. An acceptable source of water was a supreme challenge to the settlers who came to settle in this area. They found the shallow streams often too salty to drink and well they dug were often contaminated with large amounts of gypsum.
Therefore, the water dilemma burdened these new inhabitants to a much greater degree than it had the Indians. First, these homesteaders were farmers, not buffalo hunters. Second, they were restricted to little more than a quarter section of land, or at most, 320 acres. Only a fortunate few would locate enough water on their new lands to even supply their household and animals.
The water well came into prominence when it became necessary to move the town of Frazer from its original site on Bitter Creek, three miles west to the present city of Altus because of a devastating flood in 1891.
According to local politician and historian, Mr. Howard Cotner, "Altus is a Latin term which means "high" for high ground. Altus was first known as Buttermilk Station, then Frazer, then Leger, and finally back to Altus."
The Southeast corner of the Public Square in the town of Altus was established by planting two cast iron wagon spindles and ten pounds of coal at a dept of two feet, from which point a cross (X) on the curbing of the public well bears "N. 50 degrees W 26 feet 9 inches, and the Bogard corner to Sections 17-18-19& 20 bears S. 7 degrees W 81 feet 10 inches.
W.C. Jarboe, after being first duly sworn, says that he is of lawful age, and a resident of the town of Altus, in Jackson County, Oklahoma, and has been a resident thereof for 25 years, that said town was originally platted and dedicated and named as "Altus" in 18989, and continued to carry that name until about 1901, when it was changed by the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway Company to "Leger", and the name of the post office also changed to conform to that name, and the town was known by said name of "Leger" until 1905, when the post office and railway station was changed back to the original name of "Altus" and the town has been known and designated generally as "Altus" continuously since said change.
Rediscovered in 1989, restoration of the well became a major community project as part of the "89er" Centennial Celebration for the State of Oklahoma. After the well was rediscovered in near perfect condition in the early months of 1989, several interested citizens decided to restore the landmark as a local historic marker. A cement slab over the abandoned well had the inscription "WPA 1937" printed on it. It is believed that was the year the wells were originally sealed.
The well was shaped in a star design from top to bottom. It even had 15 feet of water still in it! Altus Mayor Boozie McMahan appointed a committee to oversee the restoration project. Mr. William Appleby, Altus architect, was asked to draw a sketch of the proposed restoration design. Heavy June rains soon hit the area causing the brick wall lining to crumble-making a restoration of the original well impossible. The plan was then changed to create an exact replica of the well directly over its original site. With the assistance of city employees and other dedicated individuals, the project was completed in early spring of 1990.
On March 9, 1990, the unveiling of the monument took place. Many of the descendants of Altus" pioneer families attended, including Lloyd Neal.
During the memorial dedication ceremony of the historic water well site, the members of the Altus-Jackson County Well Preservation Committee recorded the following remarks:
"Dug deep in the rich fertile soil of Jackson County long before Oklahoma became a state, this well is a symbol of all the hopes and dreams that our pioneer forefathers brought with them, when they entered old Greer County to find new worlds to conquer, new lives to live and new towns and communities to build.
May each person who follows find the courage of a Sam Neal, who by his own hands dug deep into the soil until he found the life-giving stream of pure fresh water, that not only supplied the immediate needs of his family, but those of many others, as our fledgling town and county took shape and spread its wings to finally emerge as a progressive All-American community that continues to lead Southwest Oklahoma to new discoveries, progressive enterprises and depths of human compassion.
It is all together fitting that the marker that caps the well is made of granite from the mountains that grace our northern horizon, which have always stood as a beacon, pointing the way to our homes, our families and our hearts.
The brief history and the historic picture that is engraved upon this marker will outlast the centuries, bearing testimony that the people of Altus and Jackson County cared enough to save a portion of their God-given herita
The brief history and the historic picture that is engraved upon this marker will outlast the centuries, bearing testimony that the people of Altus and Jackson County cared enough to save a portion of their God-given heritage, and to pass it on to those who are to follow in the years to come. "
The City of Altus water well represents a significant contribution to the development of the Altus community. In such a dry and arid climate, it was essential to the early pioneers of the Altus community that a source of water be available for personal and drinking use. Without such a water source available, the town which became the Altus community as we know it today quite possibly might never have been developed. Even today, an adequate source of water is a must for the agricultural economy of the area. Now, we rely upon a much larger source of water - Lake Altus located approximately 17 miles to the north.
Hughes HK-1 Hercules
The World's Largest Airplane
Nicknamed the 'Spruce Goose' by the media for its all plywood construction, the HK-1 Hercules is the largest airplane ever to fly.Designed to carry 700 troops across the Atlantic, the project started as a joint venture between Henry Kaiser and Howard Hughes but Henry Kaiser pulled out and Howard Hughes continued on throughout the war.Criticized by Washington and scorned by the press, he made believers out of everyone when on November 2nd, 1949, with Howard Hughes at the controls for a taxi test, head vanced the eight throttles and took off for a one mile flight across Long Beach harbor, its only flight.For the next thirty five years, the Spruce Goose was hidden from the public in a locked hanger at the Hughes Aircraft factory in Culver City, California.
When its imminent destruction w as rumored, a group of aviation enthusiasts rescued the plane and made arrangements for it to be displayed in Long Beach.Now in McMinnville, Oregon, the Spruce Goose awaits completion of a new aviation museum which will house the plane.
When Howard Hughes took the controls of the HK-1 on November 2nd, 1947, legions of non-believers had to change their opinions regarding the flying ability of the Spruce Goose.While performing taxiing tests, Howard Hughes applied full power to the eight 3200 horsepower engines, lifted the gigantic plane off the surface of the water and flew it for about one mile across Long Beach Harbor.For once and for all, it was proven that this giant plane could indeed fly!
Unfortunately, it never flew again.After long battles with Congress over its cost and alleged over-runs, Howard Hughes took responsibility for the plane, locked it in a special air-conditioned hangar where it remained until its unveiling to the public as part of the Queen Mary exhibit.Millions of visitors have looked in awe at the enormous plane in its special domed exhibit hall.
Dismantled in 1992 and barged to Oregon, the Spruce Goose will soon become the primary and certainly largest feature of the Captain Michael King Smith Memorial Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.It is scheduled to go on full display in 1997;meanwhile, visitors to McMinnville can see portions of the aircraft undergoing restoration and assembly.
To fully appreciate just how big the Spruce Goose really is, consider that the Boeing 747-400 has a wingspan of 212 feet.The Spruce Goose boasts a wingspan of 320 feet, about half again as large as the 747!
TRIP TO CALIFORNIA
In the fall of 1940, after the funeral of their nephew, Morgan Wise, Roscoe and Irene Myers made an automobile trip to California.Morgan, an accomplished high school athlete, had been electrocuted on school property after a pre-season football practice session.Some of his relatives from California had attended the funeral.After spending time in Oklahoma, the Myerses drove them home and visited with their family who lived in southern California.Two of Roscoe's brothers and other relatives had gone to California during the 'Dust Bowl' days of the 1930s in search of better paying jobs.The trip out to California was along historic Route 66 and they returned from Long Beach, CA, along the 'southern route.'The visit to southern California and also seeing the pine forests of New Mexico's Rocky Mountains made a strong impression on 13 year old Carroll Rufus Myers, whose entire life had been witnessing the dust filled skies enveloping the plains of southwestern Oklahoma of the 1930s. ----Carroll Rufus Myers as told to RCM